Beginning in 1979, the 5¼″ format now, thanks to Maxell, available in a soft sectored version, quickly displaced the 8″ for most applications and began to make serious incursions into the domination of cassette tapes
These early drives read only one side of the disk, leading to the popular budget approach of cutting a second write-enable slot and index hole on the opposite edge of the carrier envelope and flipping it over to use the other side for additional storage (thus, the "flippy disk")
Finally, in 1984, a “high density” version was introduced with a storage capacity of 1200 KB (1.2 MB)
Since the IBM AT personal computer, also introduced that year, had a hard drive that stored a maximum of 10 to 20 MB, the capacity of the high density 5¼″ floppy was considered quite large for its price
In February, 2008, Toshiba abandoned the format, announcing it would no longer develop or manufacture HD DVD players or drives and major content manufacturers and key retailers began withdrawing their support for the format
Today a Blu-ray player can be bought for anywhere from $75 to $200
Flash memory is also used in USB thumb drives (also called flash drives, jump drives, pocket drives, handy drives, stick drives, etc), which are used for general storage and transfer of data between computers.
Plug your UTD into the USB port of any computer anywhere – a friend’s house, an Internet Café, a hotel business center, an office – anywhere, and see your own familiar desktop, programs, and data
Run Portable Firefox to surf the Web or Portable Thunderbird to pick up email; put the final touches on your document or slide show presentation with Writer or Impress; play your favorite music or watch videos
Some Things You can Do With a USB Thumb Drive
Some Things You can Do With a USB Thumb Drive Then: Remove the UTD at the end of the session and no record of your session or anything else personal remains on the host computer
Removable Storage: What Does the Future Hold?
Today's storage devices are based on magnetic or optical technology. They may be sufficient for today's need but are fast hurtling toward obsolescence as the power of the silicon processors increases.
To meet this need for faster and more efficient storage devices, there are many promising products on the horizon.
An advanced form of optical storage (like CD and DVD)
It is three dimensional, instead of two dimensional, and offers much better data density and transfer speed
A holographic disk would be the shape and size of a DVD but have a capacity 27 times greater. This would translate to about 1 terabyte of data per disk. In addition, the holographic storage device would have a data transfer rate 25 times greater than today's DVDs
It is estimated that holographic storage devices may become commonplace in another four or five years or so
Interest is growing in the use of metallofullerenes - carbon "cages" with embedded metallic compounds - as materials for miniature data storage devices
Researchers at The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology have discovered that metallofullerenes are capable of forming ordered supramolecular structures with different orientations
By specifically manipulating these orientations it might be possible to store and subsequently read out information